ABHMS sets new course for mission: Connect. Cultivate. Change.

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 4/18/17)—In this Resurrection season that celebrates Jesus Christ’s promise of new life, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) announces a new framework for its mission to cultivate leaders, equip disciples and heal communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

This framework—Connect. Cultivate. Change.—looks to the future as it responds to the challenges facing Christian mission today, at the same time following in the footsteps of ABHMS’ founding missionaries, who expanded Christian ministry into new, uncharted territory in the early 19th century.

A major focus of this new mission approach features the creation of aligned action networks of passionate American Baptist disciples in geographic clusters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico for sharing assets, resources, best practices, actionable ideas and passion for ministry to be transformed into ministries that meet human needs.

These networks will increase ABHMS’ capacity to engage a greater number of organizations in mission in more regions of the country, thereby increasing opportunities to connect, cultivate and develop partners on new geographic frontiers and in newly emerging mission models. Seeking to collaborate on strengthening local ministries that cultivate leaders, equip disciples and heal communities, the networks will include not only American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) regions, but also American Baptist-related colleges and seminaries, Christian centers, chaplains, emerging leaders, Judson Press authors, American Baptist Foundation, Ministers Council, American Baptist Men USA, American Baptist Women’s Ministries, Women in Ministry and more.

“American Baptist Home Mission Societies seeks to lead the way in convening and connecting various Baptist partners into networks that address a wide range of mission needs and opportunities,” says Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, “because we believe the shared ministry models of the future will involve many partners thinking creatively about a combined inventory of assets, spiritual gifts, human and material resources, skill sets and more.

“We believe there is no shortage of resources, talent or passion when American Baptists combine gifts for the sake of God’s ministry,” Haggray continues. “Through collaboration—by connecting with established, historic partners, developing new partners and connecting partners with each other—the aligned action networks will accomplish more than each partner could accomplish alone, increasing ministry impact exponentially.”

In addition to the implementation of this network ministry model, seven national programs—which will be featured weekly at abhms.org beginning April 25—have been established:

  • In Search of Excellence, supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, seeks to equip American Baptist pastors and lay leaders with resources that ease financial burdens.
  • Discipleship is building a network of highly-motivated agents of change who are broadening the understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
  • Emerging Leaders, a new program for empowering young adults, features scholarship opportunities that nurture the personal and professional growth of American Baptist students and ministry leaders.
  • Rizpah’s Children, an outgrowth of ABHMS’ Justice for Children initiative, calls diverse partners to action, commitment and collaboration in national networks that create and deliver services to children and families living in poverty.
  • Chaplaincy and Specialized Ministries endorses American Baptist chaplains and pastoral counselors and provides training and support for these ministry professionals who stand on holy ground, serving in hospitals, prisons, pastoral counseling centers, race tracks and military settings.
  • Intercultural Ministries offers resources and training that foster sharing and learning across cultures as an essential part of life together in Jesus Christ.
  • Public Witness and Advocacy addresses a wide range of ethical, social and policy matters impacting the United States through Christ-Centered messaging and advocacy to both the church and the world.

The Christian Citizen magazine also has been injected with new life. While continuing its historic commitment to publishing diverse perspectives about faith and politics, and the relationship among discipleship, citizenship and personal witness, the publication has moved into the 21st century by going digital. Its 10 online issues will be supplemented by biannual print editions that feature highlights of the digital publication.

When The American Baptist Home Mission Society was established in 1832, its mission-minded founders sought to impact the United States with the Christian gospel. By the time the Northern Baptist Convention (predecessor to ABCUSA) was formed in 1907—75 years after the formation of the Home Mission Society and 83 years after the formation of the Baptist General Tract Society (now Judson Press)—the Home Mission Society had established churches, children’s homes, seminaries, colleges, universities and a host of specialized ministries.

Today, ABHMS continues that legacy—seeking new and creative opportunities for cultivating Christian leaders and disciples from all walks of life to work for freedom, justice and the biblical ideals of Beloved Community—through expanding Christian mission into new frontiers of ministry models across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.